GET FIRED UP AND KNOW YOUR NEW SMOKE ALARM LAWS

 

Often it takes a tragedy to make people stand up and listen. This has most certainly been the case leading up to the implementation of new Queensland Smoke Alarm legislation which was introduced in September 2016.

Under the new legislation Queensland homes will become safer and lives will be saved over the next decade with the mandatory installation of high-tech smoke detectors by 2027.

More than 150 people have died in house fires in Queensland since 2004, but it was the horrific house fire in 2011 that claimed 11 lives and devastated the south side community of Logan that forced the Queensland Government to take measures to ensure that Queenslanders never see a repeat of that tragedy.

Under the planned changes to be phased in over ten years, smoke alarms in domestic dwellings must be photoelectric, hard-wired or powered by a 10-year lithium battery, installed in bedrooms in addition to living areas and escape paths, and connected to other alarms in the house.

From 1st of January 2022, dwellings that are sold or leased will need to meet new safety standards. However, the provisions are to be implemented over a 10-year period, with new dwellings or properties undergoing substantial renovations required to comply from 2017. Households will also be required to install a photoelectric smoke alarm any time they are replacing an existing alarm.

Why Photoelectric Alarms?

When you sleep, your sense of smell also sleeps. If a fire starts, toxic fumes can overcome you. Photoelectric smoke alarms see smoke and will alert you early, so you can escape. Photoelectric smoke alarms are more effective at detecting a wider range of fires and are good at sensing smouldering fires or thick smoke.

With interconnected alarms, you will be alerted no matter where you are, or where the fire starts.

Advantages

  • Good for smouldering fire and dense smoke
  • Not as prone to cooking nuisance alarms
  • Contain no radioactive material
  • Suitable for general use.

 

 

Below are all the changes you need to know from the Queensland Fire & Emergency Services.

 

Changes For Existing Dwellings

From 1 January 2017

  • Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago must be replaced with photoelectric smoke alarms which comply with Australian Standards (AS) 3786-2014. (Note: the date should be stamped on the back)
  • Smoke alarms that do not operate when tested must be replaced immediately.
  • Existing hardwired smoke alarms that need replacement, must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm.
  • It is also recommended that:
    • smoke alarms be either hardwired or
    • powered by a non-removable 10-year battery; and
    • ionisation smoke alarms be replaced with a photoelectric type as soon as possible.
  • For the best protection smoke alarms should be installed on each storey:
    • in every bedroom
    • in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
    • if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey; and
    • if there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm should be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.
  • All smoke alarms should be interconnected.
  • To get everyone out safely during a house fire, it is essential to also have a well-practised fire escape plan.

 

From 1 January 2027

  • All private homes, townhouses and units will require hardwired photoelectric, interconnected smoke alarms. If a hardwired smoke alarm cannot be installed, non-removable 10-year battery smoke alarms can be installed in place.
  • The legislation requires smoke alarms must be installed in the following locations:
    • on each storey
    • in each bedroom
    • in hallways that connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
    • if there is no hallway, between the bedroom and other parts of the storey; and
    • if there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.

 

Changes for New Dwellings or Dwellings being substantially Renovated

From 1 January 2017

  • All new homes or units and substantially renovated homes or units that are subject to a building application submitted from 1 January 2017, will require the installation of hardwired, photoelectric interconnected smoke alarms.
  • Smoke alarms in the dwelling must:
    • be photoelectric (AS3786-2014); and
    • not also contain an ionisation sensor; and
    • be hardwired to the mains power supply with a secondary power source (i.e. battery); and
    • be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together.
  • The legislation requires smoke alarms must be installed in the following locations:
    • on each storey
    • in each bedroom
    • in hallways that connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
    • if there is no hallway, between the bedroom and other parts of the storey; and
    • if there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.
  • Smoke alarms must be hardwired, or for existing dwellings, they can also be powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.
  • To get everyone out safely during a house fire, it is essential to also have a well-practised fire escape plan.

 

Changes for Dwellings being Sold, Leased or an Existing Lease Renewal

From 1 January 2017

  • Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago must be replaced with photoelectric smoke alarms which comply with Australian Standards (AS) 3786-2014. (Note: the date should be stamped on the back)
  • Smoke alarms that do not operate when tested must be replaced immediately.
  • Existing hardwired smoke alarms that need replacement, must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm.
  • It is also recommended that:
    • smoke alarms be either hardwired or
    • powered by a non-removable 10-year battery; and
    • ionisation smoke alarms be replaced with photoelectric type as soon as possible.
  • For the best protection smoke alarms should be installed on each storey:
    • in every bedroom
    • in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
    • if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey; and
    • if there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm should be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.
  • All smoke alarms should be interconnected.
  • To get everyone out safely during a house fire, it is essential to also have a well-practised fire escape plan.
  • Existing landlord’s and tenant’s obligations continue. Property sellers must continue to lodge a Form 24 stating the requirements of the legislation have been met. See New Smoke Alarm Legislation for more details.

 

From 1 January 2022

  • All homes or units being sold or leased, or existing leases renewed, will require the installation of hardwired photoelectric, interconnected smoke alarms. If a hardwired smoke alarm cannot be installed, non-removable 10-year battery smoke alarms can be installed in place.
  • Smoke alarms in the dwelling must:
    • be photoelectric (AS3786-2014); and
    • not also contain an ionisation sensor; and
    • Be hardwired to the mains power supply with a backup power source (i.e. battery), although dwellings which were existing prior to 1 Jan 2017 can be hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery, or a combination of both.
    • be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together.
  • The legislation requires smoke alarms must be installed in the following locations:
    • on each storey
    • in each bedroom
    • in hallways that connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
    • if there is no hallway, between the bedroom and other parts of the storey; and
    • if there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.
  • If a smoke alarm which is hardwired to the domestic power supply needs replacement, it must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm.

 

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